West Jefferson is continuing to make strides to market itself as a primary tourist destination in N.C.’s High Country.
Last month, the West Jefferson Tourism Development Authority (TDA) approved a $30,000 budget for 2014-15.
The spending package includes specific and miscellaneous tourism promotions and annual dues and subscriptions to the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce ($100), High Country Host ($562) and the Blue Ridge Parkway ($295).
In 2005, the N.C. General Assembly authorized the Town to create a TDA to promote and guide West Jefferson’s tourism offerings. The TDA is the body for administering the local occupancy tax with proceeds going towards promoting tourism.
The following is a breakdown of the TDA’s spending plan for promoting tourism in the coming year.
High Country Host
Approximately $5,000 is budgeted for the town’s partnership with High Country Host (HCH), which acts as a regional chamber of commerce for Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Watauga and Wilkes counties.
HCH attracts visitors to the High Country through extensive marketing and then directs them to member businesses.
According to Town Manager Brantley Price, HCH is currently promoting West Jefferson in US Airways and O magazines, several billboards, Visit NC, posters on buses and trains and TV commercials in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area.
Approximately $4,200 is budgeted for monthly advertising on WBTV.com, the website for Charlotte’s CBS affiliate station.
Approximately $7,000 is budgeted for maintaining the “Visit West Jefferson” billboard that stands alongside U.S. 421 between Wilkesboro and Boone, in Wilkes County. The sign will remain in the same location and the design will stay the same for at least another year.
Approximately $4,500 is budgeted for the purchase of rack cards to be distributed and appear in racks in hotels and restaurants across the state.
Approximately $3,800 is budgeted for promoting events going on throughout the town such as the Gallery Crawls and Backstreet concert series.
In other TDA related business:
• Price updated the TDA on the status of the lawsuit with Trimurthi Hotels, the company that managed the former Hampton Inn.
Trimurthi Hotels owes the Town approximately $49,370.45 in unpaid occupancy taxes. The TDA was owed a payment of $15,000 from Trimuthi by June 15.
Price requested the TDA pay the Town $11,800 to reimburse the Town for attorney fees once the $15,000 is received, and the TDA approved his request.
• Stay tuned to WXII in late July and early August, as the TDA approved spending $5,350 to advertise on the Piedmont Triad’s NBC affiliate network. Price told the TDA the three week advertising campaign will include a 30-second commercial showcasing the tourism and overnight hospitality the town has to offer. The commercials are designed to attract Triad area adults to spend a day or night in West Jefferson.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.